09/03/2002 12:00AM

At least it's a competitive race

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Page through the races a second time, and you still will not find a true feature on Arlington's Thursday program.

There hardly is a horse surplus in any part of the country, and a six-day racing week ending Labor Day tapped the local horse population more than a typical Chicago racing week. A high-level turf optional claimer that would have been the feature failed to fill, leaving first-level statebred allowance horses as the day's highlight.

At 8 1/2 furlongs on turf, the race at least is competitive, with no clear favorite apparent among the nine horses entered. Des Arc was a tepid favorite the last time he raced at this class level and could wind up in the same position again Thursday.

Trained by Terrel Gore, Des Arc won a statebred maiden turf race late this spring at Hawthorne, and finished second, beaten a neck, in a first-level statebred allowance here July 5. Gore tried him at 12 furlongs in an open allowance on Aug. 18, and whether or not Des Arc's ability matched up with his rivals that day, he did not seem to stay the distance of the race.

Beyond Des Arc there is the tough-to-read Report Stage, third in an open $30,000 claiming race Aug. 14 at Ellis Park. Report Stage spent the spring in California, where he failed to make a dent in mid-level claiming races, but won a statebred turf race at Hawthorne last fall.

Lost at Sea preps for Gazelle

Lost at Sea had her final tuneup Sunday for this weekend's Gazelle Handicap, working six furlongs in 1:13.20, the fastest of nine works at the distance.

"Rene Douglas worked her for me and she went really well," said trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

Lost at Sea was scheduled to fly to New York on Wednesday and will be ridden in the Gazelle by Pat Day.

A developing 3-year-old who impressively won the Grade 3 Singapore Plate here in her last start, Lost at Sea faces her toughest test in the Grade 1 Gazelle, where she meets Take Charge Lady and Bella Bellucci.

Sharp Impact sizzles in workout

Sharp Impact, the Godolphin 2-year-old being pointed to Saturday's Spectacular Bid Stakes, worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Monday.

A winner of his only start, Sharp Impact will be Godolphin's only runner in the first 2-year-old stakes for males here. The colt Anasheed may start in the Arlington-Washington Futurity on Sept. 28.

Extra seating construction under way

Construction of temporary seating for the World Thoroughbred Championships is progressing on schedule, with the installation of three sections of clubhouse turn seats nearly complete.

When finished, the clubhouse turn bleachers will house 5,000 seats. When those seats are in place, Arlington will move to the next phase of the project next weekend, installing another 5,000 seats in the stretch and near the quarter pole, track president Steve Sexton said.

About 3,000 Breeders' Cup seats remain unsold, Sexton said.